On Being Full and Being Empty

I feel full.  Stuffed, in fact.

As I write this it’s the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S. and I’m in a Starbucks in a suburb of Chicago where all my extended family live.  Christmas music is on in the background and Katy and John are heading over to join me so all is right in my world.

I am full of of turkey and laughter, and hugs and stories retold again and again around the long dinner table.  And prayers.

In our family we are blessed.

Thanksgiving is about fullness…reflecting on the fullness of the past year and filling up with more of God’s goodness echoing from the voices and reflected in the eyes of ones who love us and love Jesus.

But life seems to be a process of both filling and emptying.

We are emptied.

Depleted from discouragement, draining relationships, and days that seem to require the patience and strength of a super-hero.  Fatigued with fear of failure or future or just busyness.

And we are filled.

With whispers of His Word, and glimpses of His beauty and love and faithfulness in the ordinary moments of life.

The “Jesusy answer” may seem pat and tired, and hard to understand…mysterious in a way that makes us resist it.  And incomplete this side of heaven.  Our cups get bumped and jostled and tipped over and the only One who can do a real filling is Jesus.

This year, there was a change in our Thanksgiving traditions.  We needed a time of filling.  For the first time ever, there were no games on “the” day.  Instead of Charades or Pictionary or Nertz, there was a time of anointing and prayer and scripture shower for our dear friend Lee who is fighting for her life with Pancreatic cancer.

I heard someone this week use the phrase

the place where our theology intersects with our biography.”

And I thought, “That’s it!  That’s what we’re experiencing.”

And it is really hard.

As this disease depletes her body, God provides His Body to refill.

The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence. Eph. 1:23

We don’t understand, and we’d much rather “do” something that feels more problem-solving, but God says anoint.  God says pray.  Wait.  Trust.  Bow.

He emptied Himself to that we might be filled.  Again and again.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s people,  to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:16-21

What about you?  Are you full or empty today?

What relationships, experiences, or practices does God use to fill you?

6 thoughts on “On Being Full and Being Empty

      • Love, love, loved this, Laura! Full and empty, and waiting. I am (we are) very much WAITING for call right now. Could literally be 5 different places (probably more) and all I keep hearing from the voice of the Spirit is this: “God has something for us in the waiting.” Sitting with it as the 4 of us do our first stint at Disneyworld EVER. So full, sometimes feeling empty. Definitely waiting. Love you! Kyle


    • That’s pretty impossible to imagine, but if it’s so it is TRULY only because I’m so desperately dependent on God! Honestly, anything of value is only the result of the Holy Spirit. Thank you so much for your kind words!


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